Upma/Rava upma

Rava upma

Upma/Rava upma is a very traditional South Indian dish, which can be quickly whipped up and is easy to make with minimal ingredients. For me, it is a comfort food which I can have any time of the day.

But somehow I haven’t come across many people who like upma. Even in my family quite a few of them are ok with bread rather than have upma. Though, in North India people seem to dote on this dish.

I still fail to understand why it has earned so much hatred. I am talking about the majority in Tamilnadu. If you are one among them then your views will change once you make it my way 🙂  .

As far as I have known, upma has to be fluffy and light. The other one that most people seem to call upma which is a bit like a mash or a pudding is what we call rava kichadi.

This is a bit richer than upma and is usually served in marriages and housewarming ceremonies in Tamilnadu. I will post that next.

Upma can also be made from broken wheat, ragi rava, vermicelli, rice etc. But for me and my family,  upma made from sooji or rava is the best of all.

I prefer to use the thicker variety of rava or sooji for the best result. And it has to be roasted, else it will clump up and become a mess. You do get ready-made roasted ones which is what I use. But if you don’t, see that you roast it.

Rava upma can be tricky for beginners. Constant stirring as you add the sooji is a must to prevent clumping. A good quality non-stick pan can be used to prevent sticking at the bottom.

While using the regular pan, an upma layer is formed at the bottom, which can be removed once the pan cools down a bit. It’s crispy and is very tasty. In fact, we siblings used to fight for that layer 😀  , whenever mom made upma.

Leftover upma can be stored in the refrigerator and heated up in low flame on stove-top with a bit of oil. In fact, the reheated one tastes better than the original one 🙂  .

Accompaniments can be anything from simple sugar or banana to coconut chutney or sambar. Not many people know that curd or yogurt pairs well with upma

My family is in love with my upma. Do give it a try and your family too will.

Let’s get to the recipe…

Upma/Rava upma
One of the easiest breakfast recipes of South India, made from rava, sooji or semolina
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Total Time20 minutes
Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: Indian, South Indian
Keyword: How to make fluffy upma, how to make the perfect upma
Servings: 2 people
Author: Hema Magesh
  • 1 cup white rava/sooji/semolina
  • 1 medium-sized big onion
  • 2 green chillies
  • 1" piece of ginger
  • a few curry leaves
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 tsp chana dal
  • ½ tsp split urad dal
  • ⅛ tsp mustard seeds
  • 1-2 tsp ghee/oil(or more if needed)
  • 1½ cups water
  • salt as needed
  • Keep the ingredients ready. Chop the onion, chillies, and ginger finely.
    Rava upma prep step 1
  • In a thick bottomed pan, heat up 2tbsp oil and add the mustard seeds, urad dal, and channa dal.
  • When the mustard splutters and the dals turn brown, add the onion, ginger chillies, and curry leaves.
    Rava upma prep step 2
  • Saute this well in medium flame till the onions turn slightly brown and a nice flavor emanates.
  • Add the water and required salt to this and let it come to a rolling boil. Once it starts boiling add the rava little by little constantly stirring without clumping.
  • Cover the pan and simmer for 3 minutes. After 3 minutes open add the ghee and give it a good stir. Cover again, heat up for a minute more, and turn off the flame.
  • Give it a good mix to make it fluffy and serve with your favorite accompaniment.
    Rava upma prep step 4

Hema’s P.S

  • This is the minimum quantity of the oil that you will need. You may have to add more depending on the quality of the rava.
  • Also, see that there is enough oil for the onions to fry. If you love lots of onions in your upma then you will have to add more oil accordingly. The main flavor of the upma comes from a well-fried onion with the other seasonings.
  • This water quantity is perfect for a fluffy upma. 
  • The addition of ghee enhances the flavor. You can use oil too instead.
  • Chillies can also be increased or decreased according to personal preference.
  • We normally do not add veggies in upma, as that is reserved for the rava kichadi 😀 .  As I said earlier if you want to add anything more than the onion I have given you may have to add more oil for sauteeing.

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1 Response

  1. kanchana says:

    😁😁 I’m one of the many people who prefer bread to upma. 😀😀 But I do agree that it’s one of the easiest to make

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